CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 25 ♕ Team Up
They trekked the grounds that led to the direction Rowe’s group pursued. Valeriana needed Aden to guide her as she wasn’t very familiar with the grounds. They had to go back to the very entrance of the city where the fork on the road came, splitting into different paths.
Valeriana and Aden broke into a run, with Iolani flying behind them. The girl had hopes of catching up to the others to inform them about what happened, hence, she looked up at Tamara’s familiar and decided for the best.
“Iolani, why don’t you go ahead and inform Rowe about what happened?” she asked.
‘As thou wishest.’
The bird bobbed its head at her and did as she was told, soaring swiftly through the air with her large wings.
Fact was, if each of the groups were being attacked one by one, then what of Rowe’s group? The girl had her doubts about them being next on the ‘attack’ list and she couldn’t afford to let anything happen to them.
“Iolani’s the perfect messenger bird,” she muttered. “But we gotta do our best too. Come on, Aden.”
Aden ran slightly behind her, panting. Sweat broke on his forehead and trickled down the sides of his face as he wearily followed the girl. He was already panting like a dog as he continued to run alongside of Valeriana and looked more than ready to collapse.
“I-I’m sorry . . . miss.” He beseeched, reaching out for her back. “I am not as fast as you are and I do not think I have the same endurance as you do.”
She slowed and stared dubiously at him. “Are you kidding me? I usually had to have Corvan slow down for me!”
“Y-you . . .” His knees shook visibly. “Seeing as you’re one of the Twelve, it’s no wonder.”
Valeriana quirked a brow at this. “Are you alright?”
He bent his back forward and rested his hands on his knees, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “I’m alright. Please go on and leave me behind. I’ll catch up.” He nodded encouragingly at her, pushing her to run.
“I don’t think I can leave you here.” The girl replied with slight hesitance.
“Go,” he said. “I swear I’ll be right behind you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then, I’ll be going ahead.”
Valeriana disapproved of leaving anyone behind, but seeing as she was in a rush and Aden himself told her to go ahead, she had no choice but to do so.
Aden watched her disappear. When he was certain the girl was out of sight, he leaned against the nearest tree and sank down, muttering angrily. “How could she last so long running that far and not even break a sweat? God, those people are monsters.”
“Aden,” someone called from above. “Should we move?”
“Patience.” He looked up at the tree to find a pair of eyes staring at him past the branches. “Those people got overwhelmed, too. That girl was the only one immune from among all of them, and her conversation with that bird—I hardly got anything. Just standby and wait. I still have to see if these people are worth the risk.”
With that, he stood up and headed out.
Valeriana breezed through the open pathway, past numerous trees and falling autumn leaves. There were crunches that resounded beneath the soles of her shoes as her feet continued to pound against the ground, fragments of dried leaves flying behind her as she continued to run. Her breathing slowly became labored, sweat soaking her back from the exercise.
She saw figures from a distance.
Iolani was talking to a snake curling around Raziel’s torso while she rested on Rowe’s shoulder. They had different appearances than the usual. They had shed their winter coats and donned themselves in ‘peasant’ clothing, something that wasn’t flashy by means of appearance but much simpler.
“Rowe!” She yelled, running forward even faster.
She saw them turning towards her, following the sound of her frantic calls. Zevlin and Genevieve jumped at the sight of her. Rowe, on the other hand, came forward with Raziel.
“Valeriana. It’s good that you are safe.” He then smiled reassuringly at her. “You do not have to worry about Corvan and the others. They will be able to handle themselves just fine.”
“Really?” She looked at him, hopeful.
“Yes.” He nodded. “We’ll need to find Charles and ask him to think of a plan, anyhow.”
“I think we don’t have to investigate the city anymore.”
Genevieve came forward, her brows creased in concern. “Why? Have you found a substantial amount of information for it to be not needed?”
“I guess. I don’t know.” She shrugged. “But what I know is that the season around the city is being controlled.”
“The seasons? That explains a lot.”
“I have someone with me who can explain on the matter more than I can,” she told them. “But, we have to save Corvan and the others right away!”
“Is that him?” Raziel warily pointed behind her.
They all looked towards the direction Raziel was pointing at and saw Aden staggering to catch up with Valeriana. He stopped before them, collapsing on the floor as he tried to catch his breath. Holding up a hand while flashing them a pleading look, he began to speak.
“I-I . . .” He gasped. “You didn’t . . . even break a sweat!”
“We didn’t run that far, did we?” Valeriana wondered. “And my back’s soaked.” She corrected.
Rowe chuckled as he pointed out, “You ran quite a length actually, Valeriana.”
“Maybe teaming up with Corvan and all that work out you’ve been doing the past few days in the academy caused that. I do admit that the first-ranker is quite the slave-driver.” Raziel whispered, shaking his head as though he was reminiscing something.
“I know, right?”
“Even so, we have to do something about this situation immediately. If Corvan and the others were abducted, then that means the enemy is on the move.” Rowe stated, turning serious. “Did that demon give you any clues as to why he targeted your group?”
“He just showed up and challenged Corvan to a fight.” Valeriana answered, her brows furrowing. “The way they talked seemed really personal.”
“So this demon has an issue with Lord Corvan?”
“So there was an advantage splitting up.” Zevlin quipped.
“We’re going to have to depend on Tamara to keep the others safe while we work something out. And since things didn’t go as planned, it’s best if we try to regroup with Charles and the others.” Rowe decided before he turned to Aden with a comforting smile. “And what is your name?”
“A-aden,” he answered.
“Well, Aden? You are willing to help us.” Rowe flashed him that equally charming smile.
Valeriana shuddered as she stared at the second-ranker. Although his face was benevolent and his tone gentle, the way he spoke meant that he was not asking a question, but rather demanding something from the boy. Rowe had his own way of being ‘intimidating’—truly something Valeriana hoped she would never have to face.
“I-I am.” Aden hesitantly nodded.
“Wonderful,” he said. “Now, let us find Charles and the others. You don’t mind, do you? Iolani?” He turned to the bird who gave him a pair of uncaring eyes, as though she knew what he was going to ask of her.
‘Thou dost not need to ask that of me,’ Tamara’s familiar replied, her eyes moving in a very similar way to that of a roll before taking off.
“Now, let’s think up of a plan.”